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Hackers mod B&N Nook

Hackers mod B&N Nook

The nookDev website has detailed instructions on turning the B&N Nook ebook reader into a full Android tablet.

The dual-screen Nook ebook reader from Barnes & Noble excited many when they learned it would be running Google's Android platform, but was a disappointment when it shipped due to poor performance. Not put off by this, hackers have got their hands on the device and cleverly subverted it - turning it into a portable, always-on Internet tablet with free mobile broadband.

The instructions posted over on nookDevs - via Digital Trends explain how to take the device apart, remove the in-built microSD card containing the operating system, and replace a few files in order to free up the true potential of the Nook.

While the process pretty much waves goodbye to any warranty that you may have had left, if you're willing to take the risk of destroying the device - perhaps out of frustration with its poor performance as an ebook reader - you'll be left with a dual-screen device running a full, unlocked Android operating system.

As well as opening the doors for third-party applications, the main reason for hacking the device in this way is to use the in-built wireless connectivity: much like Amazon's rival Kindle, the Nook contains a subsidised mobile broadband connection which is designed to be used to buy books from Barnes & Noble's ebook store while you're out and about. Because the connection exists for the sole reason of you spending money, there's no monthly fee or data transfer limit. By hacking the Nook and installing a web browser, you're left with a fully portable device for browsing the web wherever you can get a mobile 'phone signal completely free of charge - albeit in greyscale.

Sadly for Windows users, the process relies on being able to mount the microSD card's file system - which is in Ext3 format, and can only be mounted under Linux, Unix, or BSD. However, this restriction can be worked around via the use of a Linux live CD if you're desperate to try the hack without replacing your desktop OS.

Any Nook owners tempted to try the process and get a nice Internet tablet, or is the benefit not worth the risk of destroying your not-inexpensive device - and rendering your DRM-laced ebook purchases worthless? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

11 Comments

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shanky887614 16th December 2009, 12:21 Quote
i think ill pick one up just to try this
Farting Bob 16th December 2009, 12:43 Quote
Free black and white mobile internet? Sweet! I can see this mod being quite popular, and actually increasing sales of what is quite a expensive piece of hardware to read books on.
mrplow 16th December 2009, 12:47 Quote
This surely won't last long once they realise how much you're using the mobile internet, which you should be using for a couple of minutes to buy a book...
widmod 16th December 2009, 12:54 Quote
is this device (with the mobile contract/sim card ) available in europe?
i bet he find a way to restrict the data transfer to specific ebookish sites on the server side>:(
DarkLord7854 16th December 2009, 13:49 Quote
Not gonna lie.. that's pretty sweet
Bluephoenix 16th December 2009, 13:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanky887614
i think ill pick one up just to try this

+1

wasn't sure what I was going to get myself for the holidays, now I know ;)
NuTech 16th December 2009, 15:17 Quote
Seriously guys, don't buy ones of these thinking this hack will last.

All B&N have to do is enable IP filtering at their end and it's all over.
War-Rasta 16th December 2009, 15:31 Quote
Sounds interesting but not very useful outside of the USA since you wouldn't have the free internet connection.
Bluephoenix 16th December 2009, 16:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuTech
Seriously guys, don't buy ones of these thinking this hack will last.

All B&N have to do is enable IP filtering at their end and it's all over.

thats why you make a copy of the original data on the card and if they do something like that, leave it as what its supposed to be, or just use it as a mobile PDF/doc/etc reader (like its designed to be)
NuTech 16th December 2009, 20:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluephoenix
thats why you make a copy of the original data on the card and if they do something like that, leave it as what its supposed to be, or just use it as a mobile PDF/doc/etc reader (like its designed to be)
If my comment wasn't obviously clear, I was referring to anyway buying the device just to use it as 'free wireless internet'.
Matticus 16th December 2009, 23:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuTech
Seriously guys, don't buy ones of these thinking this hack will last.

All B&N have to do is enable IP filtering at their end and it's all over.

While something like this clearly will happen if it takes off, they would be destroying the market for it.

Though anyone with half a brain will let them get away with it for 6 months, long enough for everyone to think its safe to do. Everyone buys them, the market of buying to mod for this purpose is saturated. BAM! Cut them all off.
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